By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON – With two games left in the Intense Football League regular season, Rodney Blackshear and the CenTex Barracudas have named Dwayne Wade as the team's new defensive coordinator.
With Arena Football League experience as well as defensive backfield experience, Blackshear has confidence that his first choice is the right choice.
Wade played college football at the University of Michigan from 1988-1992 while he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Marketing Communication.
Wade spent a year with the Detroit Lions and then joined the AFL in Albany in 1995.
In 1997, Wade was with the Houston ThunderBears when he met Blackshear, then a true receiver looking for defensive advice.
"I was able to teach him how to play defense and understand the defensive game," Wade said.
That was what Blackshear remembered when he started looking for a defensive coordinator upon being given the go-ahead from the Barracuda front-office after the 'Cudas 61-42 loss to the Corpus Christi Hammerheads July 8.
"It's hard for me to do everything by myself," Blackshear said.
He said his assistant coaches were doing everything they could do, but still it was not enough.
"I didn't have the time to make the adjustments on the sideline that needed to be made," he added.
After a light practice, Wade's already making an impact.
In addition to playing college, professional, and arena football, Wade is also the head football coach at Alvin High School outside of Houston as well as licensed to train athletes in all areas and arenas.
After putting the team through a light workout on Thursday – their first since their last game almost two weeks ago – Wade said he would know more about the team's conditioning after Friday's practice.
He did, though, show some technique tips and his excitement for the game.
"It was fun getting back out there," Wade said. "I almost wanted to put the cleats on and the helmet on and get out there and do it myself."
With only two games left in the Barracudas' IFL regular season, Wade does not want to re-train the 'Cuda defense nor change anything with the team chemistry that has gotten them into a playoff spot in the team's inaugural season.
"I don't have any nerves," Wade said, "about anything.
"I'm a football player first. I just want to bring my enthusiasm and my technique to these guys. [Blackshear] knows that offensive side. What I bring to both sides is the conditioning and the excitement of the game."
Coach Blackshear said he's going to give Wade complete defensive control.
"I'm putting it all in his hands. The techniques, the conditioning, that's going to make us better as a team going into this playoff run," Blackshear said.
Blackshear was the defensive coordinator under former Barracuda head coach, Jon Lyles. On June 15, Blackshear was named the team's head coach after Lyles resigned.
Blackshear and Wade have been in constant contact since their days together with the Houston ThunderBears; when Blackshear was a true wide receiver trying to play defensive back and Wade – an accomplished defensive back – was giving out advice.
"I was able to give him some pointers, enough that he was able to have success," Wade said.
The Barracudas will play the San Angelo Stampede Express at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton on Monday July 24th. Kickoff is slated for 7:05 p.m.
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com